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The John Creasey Award

CWA Chairman Philip Gooden presents Peter Walker with his award

CWA Chairman Philip Gooden presents Peter Walker with his award

For 20 years, Peter Walker (Nicholas Rhea) has been Convenor of the Northern Chapter of the Crime Writers' Association (the crime writers' professional body); now he has decided the time has come to step down from this position. At a recent ceremony, he was presented with a John Creasey Award by CWA Chairman Philip Gooden. Robert Richardson, the immediate past President of the CWA explains: "What is now called the John Creasey award, named in memory of our founder, is given to those who have made an outstanding contribution to the Crime Writers' Association, and few recipients can have been more deserving than Peter Walker. To countless television viewers, he is known as Nicholas Rhea, author of the books that inspired the Heartbeat series; to those who know him, he is a warm, generous and amiable man it is a delight to claim as a friend.

"In part, his award was for organising the highly successful Northern Chapter of the CWA for 20 years, but there is more to it than that. A former Chair of the Association and a constant supporter of all it does, his unfailing friendliness, enthusiasm and the pleasure of his company are infectious. His output is prodigious and he has given enjoyment to millions; an honest journeyman, he readily admits that he is not one of the most famous of crime writers, but is among those held in the greatest affection. Another fine example of how many good things come out of Yorkshire."

Peter Walker tells the full story, in his own words:

"Before I had my first book published some 40 years ago, I had very little contact with other writers. Then, happily, because I had written short stories and articles on crime, I was invited to join the Crime Writers' Association. I was thrilled at the thought of perhaps meeting eminent writers at the evening meetings which took place at the Groucho Club in London's Soho, a well-known haunt for writers and artists.
Unfortunately, the 500 mile return train journey was too expensive and so I never managed to get there. However, when the association brought their annual conference to nearby Harrogate I booked myself a place. There I made friends with several writers from the north and we talked about having meetings somewhere in our own territory.
After a lot of procrastination, I wrote to every CWA member north of the Trent and south of the Scottish border to suggest we meet for lunch at the Crown Hotel, Boroughbridge. That took place in November 1987 and 14 writers, together with spouses and partners, attended and so we formed the Northern Chapter of the Crime Writers' Association, with me taking on the role of convenor.
Now we have over 70 members and have enjoyed many memorable lunches and weekend gatherings in the North, in addition to hosting several national conferences. This November we celebrate our 20th anniversary.
On a personal level, I have now reached my three score years and ten and find I have to take life a little more slowly. I have therefore retired as Convenor of the Northern Chapter. I've always enjoyed the task of running it and, of course, will continue to support CWA. My successor has been appointed and at a recent ceremony I was thrilled and honoured to receive the John Creasey award for services to the Crime Writers' Association."

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